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West Midlands Police agree to revamp 'shabby' HQ

Fears raised that project would take £750,000 from frontline policing

Lloyd House, West Midlands Police Headquarters

West Midlands Police has agreed to spruce up its "shabby" 1960s headquarters despite fears the work would take £750,000 from the fight against crime.

The organisation agreed to reclad Lloyd House in Birmingham city centre in return for receiving planning permission for a new police station in the block.

A war of words between police commissioner Bob Jones and the city council's planning committee erupted last month when the force's first application for the station stalled.

Mr Jones said last week that re-cladding the office and install new paving would divert £750,000 from front-line policing.

That provoked a stinging response from planning committee member Coun John Clancy.

He said: "I am very pleased with the new proposals but the comments were unhelpful.

"This is a multi-million pound development project - the improvements we asked for can be delivered within the overall budget. This is not money that would be spent on police officers."

And Coun Clancy (Lab, Quinton) said the police could not expect preferential treatment in planning matters.

The approved works include a new police station on the ground floor of Lloyd House, as well as air conditioning for staff and a clean-up of the building and surrounding pavements.

The new station will replace the grade II listed Steelhouse Lane building and others in Queens Road, Aston, and Belgrave Middleway, in Edgbaston. All three will be closed and sold once the new station is open.

Lloyd House, with its dirty grey concrete exterior, has been seen as a blight on the Snow Hill development area where it is surrounded by modern office blocks, some still under construction.

Owners of neighbouring properties had objected to the condition of the building.

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